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Thread: Articulated Well Cars

  1. #1

    Question Articulated Well Cars

    I'm aware that there are 5 unit articulated well cars for carrying standard shipping containers (10', 20' and 40' long containers).

    But are there 5 unit articulated well cars specifically for carrying domestic containers (45', 48' and 53' long containers)?

  2. #2
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    Yes, some old sli 5 pack units have 53' on top.

    SLI_BNSF_DOMESTIC_INTERMODAL
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    Cheers
    Derek

  3. #3

    Question

    Thanks Derek.

    But what about domestic (45', 48', and 53') containers in the bottom of the car and part of a 5 unit articulated well car set?

    In real life, do these 5 unit articulated well car sets (which can accommodate domestic 45', 48', and 53' long containers in any position) exist for these domestic containers ?

  4. #4
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    Generally speaking, you seldom see 5 unit sets capable of 53' in every well. There were a few experimental rebuilds stretching a 48' 5-pack car into a 5-pack 53' car. Other 48' 5 units were shortened into 5 unit 40' cars. In the age of 53' domestics, the industry has little use for 48' cars and actively converted or purged many of them. Many of the 48' 5-pack spines were converted to windmill blade cars.

    I don't think it is possible to carry 53' on the top of a 40' 5-pack on every well, but only on the A B and D units where the C and E units must be 40/40. The typical articulated joint on a 40' 5-pack is not long enough to do adjacent 53' over 40' in every well.

    Husky stacks that are drawbar connected and have individual trucks for both ends and that do not share an articulated truck are probably okay for 53/40 in every well.

  5. #5
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    Cheers
    Derek

  6. #6

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    Comments noted, thank you.

  7. #7
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    This is a 48 foot 5-pack well car that was stretched to 53 feet for each well as a test. The patched paint is where they spliced the additional length into each well. As you can see the car is wired up for stress testing and is coupled to a dynamometer car







    You rarely see a 5 unit 53 foot articulated well car capable of holding 10 53 foot containers outside of unique experiments like this because of one reason - the weight of any 4 adjacent containers that must be light enough to share a 125-ton articulated truck. On a 5-unit car, 6 of your 10 containers (60%) need to be lightly loaded enough to be able to share an articulated truck on both ends. On a 3-unit car, which is our common standard here in North America, only 2 of your 6 containers (33%) need to be lightly loaded enough to be able to share an articulated truck on both ends. In the age of 53 footers, 5-pack well cars are "out" because of simple math. Back in the days of 40 foot 5 packs, it was tough enough to make sure you had 60% of your containers light enough to share articulated trucks, but that was before you added 13 more linear feet to each container, which only made the overloading problem of the middle articulated trucks worse.

    There are plenty of 5-pack spine cars capable of carrying 53 foot on all 5 platforms, but they are not double stacked so they don't have as big of a truck-sharing weight problem.

  8. #8

    Lightbulb

    Thanks for the detailed reply with photos!

    Very interesting reading!

  9. #9

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    Just found this link which details load limits and container configurations for well cars.

    Interesting reading!

  10. #10
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    Interesting. I wonder what percentage of cargo moves as 53' vs 40 or 48'.

    My understanding that domestic (I assume North American) containers are generally 53 foot and anything going overseas has to be 20 or 40 foot. Is that correct? Not sure where 48 foot fits in.

    Jon

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